Is Your Business Talent-Centric? Here’s How To Check

If you’ve been doing things the same way forever, change can be jarring—but sometimes you have to break things down to build them up better and stronger.

Finding—and keeping—the right employees is what keeps a business humming. No one in corporate leadership will tell you that they don’t worry about high employee turnover or that retention isn’t a part of their talent strategy. However, saying employees are your focus and doing something to make sure your organization is talent-centric aren’t the same.

What Is a Talent-Centric Organization (TCO)?

A talent-centric organization (TCO) focuses on hiring and retaining employees who are an excellent fit for the position and the company. TCOs don’t simply hire individuals who check the right boxes for skills and experience (although that’s critical, too). Instead, a TCO hires people who are a good fit for the company culture. A TCO works hard to align its leadership and employees with the company’s mission, values and future. The result? A united, harmonious team that fosters a positive and productive workplace.

How do you know if your company is doing the right things to be talent-centric? Check for these seven indicators:

1. Leaders are leading employees toward the company’s goals.

It’s crucial for everyone in leadership roles to be promoting the same message and vision. If there’s one thing that creates high turnover at a company, it’s when its leadership is on different pages. This makes it difficult for employees to align themselves properly with company goals, and when employees are missing that alignment, they may not stick around. The responsibility for making sure this alignment happens falls on management.

How can you tell if your leadership team is in (or out) of alignment? Start by asking each member of your executive team two key questions:

• “What is your vision for the company?” If you hear the same answer from each team member, authentically and without lip service, you’re in alignment. If not, you have some work to do.

• “Which department or company roles contribute most to the company’s success?” More than likely, you’ll receive different answers from different people. A CEO once told me that his chief sales officer would say sales, his CTO would say software engineering, and his CFO would say it’s him because he holds the purse strings.

However, when I asked the CEO what his answer was, he said he believed there is no most important department or role and that every part of the organization must work together for success—which is the right answer. But his answer told us both that his team was misaligned.

2. Your business is centered around its people.

Sometimes when leaders start up a company, they’re primarily focused on the product or service they’re selling. While that is an important part of success, it’s not the only thing—­or even the most important thing—to focus on. People are the cornerstone of a business, and that includes employees.

When developing your talent strategy, start by ranking each job role’s importance and determine how long you need each employee to stay with you. Will your company go out of business or lose money if an employee up and quits?

For example, if you want your sales reps to stay for five years, then you best be asking current employees and future candidates what it’s going to take to keep them working for you.

Likewise, you shouldn’t be interviewing sales reps who’ve changed jobs every one to three years. Sure, these candidates may have great explanations, and you can dig into them if you’d like. Did they work for failed startups? Were they desperate for work? Did they want to move into management? Or was it not a cultural fit?

3. Your employees drive success.

A talent-centric organization will see its employees driving the business and, thus, driving success. Why does this happen? Because employees are the ones (in most instances) on the front lines working with customers. They have the power to make or break the customer experience. With team coaching, your employees can be instrumental in propelling your business goals forward.

4. Talent is enthusiastic about working at your company.

One sure sign that your organization is talent-focused and talent-centric is the attitude of your employees. A TCO motivates employees and creates enthusiasm for the business and the work its people do. This enthusiasm, in turn, spreads to everyone around, including customers. If your employees are dragging their feet, unhappy or stagnant, that’s a sure sign something’s not right.

5. Your company is in tune with what employees want.

A talent-centric organization is in tune with its employees’ wants and needs. Through leadership development and training, your leaders can create a company culture that attracts the type of employees you need. Instead of only thinking about what kind of employees your organization wants, leaders can develop an exciting work environment where employees want to be.

To gauge if you’re addressing your employees’ needs, simply ask them. If you’ve built a culture of feedback, your employees will voluntarily let you know how you’re doing. If your culture is still a work in progress, ask a third party to interview leaders and workers confidentially. Many organizations rely on surveys for employee feedback, but this approach doesn’t make people feel listened to.

6. Your business has minimal turnover.

Leaders know they’re meeting the goal of creating a talent-centric organization when there’s very little employee turnover. You won’t see employees walking out the door regularly when there’s an ideal match.

7. Your company is staffed by a diverse group.

Employee diversity offers your company a wealth of talent and resources. If you’re only hiring the “same” type of people all the time, you won’t have as many different perspectives, ideas, and backgrounds to pull from. As long as employees are a good fit for your company’s culture, diversity is a strength.

If you’ve been doing things the same way forever, it could cause quite an upheaval to change. However, sometimes you have to break things down to build them up better and stronger. By putting your people first and creating a talent-centric organization, you’ll be ensuring your company’s success.